Sunday, January 23, 2011


I typically have the tv on when I am working, it is my background noise. This morning I caught an episode of the new reality show Heavy. This seems to be the year of the weight loss program, Heavy, I Used to be Fat and another one I cant recall the name of, as well as the next season of The Biggest Loser.

I never know whether I want to see these things or not, sometimes they make me sad because they remind me where I used to be and it brings back a lot of shame, other times they frustrate me, because the message on all of them is "eat less, workout more"and you'll be thinner. Not one of the programs has ever profiled someone in my situation, where eating too little is a big part of the problem. One of the profilees on Heavy this morning was eating 10,000 calories a day, I can't even fathom that when I struggle to scrape up 1500 calories a day, even with a horrible slip yesterday of a Big Mac and fries I still barely made my calories for the day.

Heavy for those who haven't seen it documents the first 6 months of a weight loss journey for two individuals. They are provided a treatment program, a trainer and medical support. From what I saw I like the program in that the participants are going through their struggle mostly (for at least 5 months of the 6) in their home environment, facing the everyday realities. That has always been my issue with Biggest Loser, that most of the participants were doing it all in a controlled environment without the stressors and challenges of their lives. The battle is much different when it is part of your every day life, not something that can be your sole focus.

I was very taken with one of the participants on the episode I saw this morning. Jodi and I shared a lot of the same struggles, she was fighting herself, her inability to open up to those trying to help her and her own thoughts as much as her body. She said many of things I have been thinking the last couple weeks about needing help but not knowing how to let her trainers help her, of not knowing how to feel safe enough to be that vulnerable.

She also broke down in tears at one point admitting she feels like a failure most of the time while training and working out. It was the first time on any of these shows that I have heard that level of honesty. I knew exactly what she meant, because I have spent the last few weeks of my training sessions feeling that way. Worrying I have come as far as I can and maybe now I am just kidding myself. The scale isn't moving so I really don't know what else to judge success or failure on, so I see failure.

A friend made a comment to me in the grocery store yesterday about my blog, she said she reads it and wonders if I think I am the only one who goes through the things I write about, truth, most days, yes. I know on one level that is illogical, but it is how I feel. I look around me, at others on the same journey, and just others in general, and yes I do feel much more disfunctional than the people around me. Others seem to cope so much better than I feel I do, others seem to be able to communicate so much better than I do, others seem to be able to let others help them so much better than I do.

I was kind of floored after I left that friend at the checkout at the grocery store and when I came back to checkout myself the cashier said "wow, your friend admires you so much". I really didn't know what to say or what was said by K that lead to that comment. And as usual the only thing that went through my mind was "Why would she admire me? There is certainly nothing about me for her to admire". Luckily for once I was able to stop what was in my head from escaping my mouth, and just smiled and thanked the cashier and moved on.

There is one more thing I wish we could see on tv if the weight genre is going to continue, the full struggle. These programs catalog the first few months, when it's easier, when a small change means a big weight loss. On Heavy this morning they were losing 10 or more pounds a week. That makes for great television, but what still isn't being seen is what it feels like 14 months in, when you work for months for a single pound, when those around you are long bored with your weird eating or your obsessing, when the victories become much smaller and you battle tirelessly and no one notices. That is the true face of this journey that still needs to be told.

1 comment:

  1. You ask why someone would admire you? While dropping 100+ pounds is amazing, what is inspiring is so much more than that. Your bravery at writing this blog and sharing your thoughts/feelings, opening yourself up, to be vulnerable, is inspirational. Your wherewithall to keep going even when faced with obstacles that would stop others in their tracks is phenomenal. Your sense of humor is unsurpassed and you have a natural gift at bringing people together and making them feel good about themselves. I didn't tell all that to the cashier, but she knows it. She's the one who mentioned that you come to that particular grocery store a lot and that you are always such a friendly, happy, funny person.